By unveiling the iPhone 4S, Apple disappointed many customers and observers who were expecting a completely redesigned device. With the impending launch of Samsung's Nexus Prime, Apple fans are asking: When can the iPhone 5 really be expected?

The answer could be that until the 4G LTE technology is available for compact smartphones, the iPhone 5 will not be launched. With the availability of LTE upload, download speeds will be much faster compared to the existing 3G networks. As a result, the device may not be released until next year.

The lack of more compact LTE chips is to be blamed for Apple's release the iPhone 4S instead of the iPhone 5, according to analysts. It is reported that Qualcomm is working on a chip that will be ready by the second quarter of 2012 and could be used in Apple's next handset.

The chip mightg also extend the battery life of the next smartphone.

LTE chips currently used in phones like the HTC Thunderbolt may raised design concerns for Apple. First is with respect to the size of the chip. In the present situation, after all other components have been added, LTE chips will not fit into the casing of the iPhone 4. It has to be noted that iPhone 4 already uses a small printed circuit board that will leave little space for the LTE chip.

Consequently, if Apple had released an affordable iPhone 5 with LTE this year, the device would most probably have been bulkier than its predecessor, which would have been a step backward that Apple clearly was not willing to take.

Earlier, it was heard that iPhone 5 was to feature a unibody aluminum display, dual-core processor, 4-inch display and an 8 megapixel camera. But now that iPhone 4S is out featuring a dual-core processor and an 8 megapixel camera it can only be assumed that the iPhone 5 will feature higher-end specs.

Apple may have disappointed people by not announcing an iPhone 5, but it most probably did so to preserve its lofty standards, instead of hastening the device to gratify critics. Having said that, Apple cannot afford to wait too long to introduce a 4G LTE version of its phone.